More Than Words

Books on table

Each year, more than 1.7 million books are published in the United States and about 50 million tons of paper and paperboard are thrown into landfills. 

Since books often cannot be recycled into new books, the best way to recycle them is to donate them to used bookstores like More than Words in Waltham, which empowers at-risk youth to take charge of their lives by managing the business.

To raise awareness and curb the practice of wasting books, we held a faculty book drive in each academic building, as well as department collections. To increase awareness of More Than Words, we publicized its Facebook page and held a book swap to increase foot traffic into the store.

Trunk of car with books

With the help of staff from Brandeis and More Than Words, we realized that the university needed one focused effort to collect books for More Than Words, which relies on sales of donated books to cover its operating costs. We hosted a book drive, placing bins in strategic locations and contacting administrators and faculty.  We avoided generating additional paperwaste by using electronic advertisements via email and Facebook.

The book drive was most successful with the faculty—with the largest donations coming from the physics and psychology departments, and the library. To further raise student awareness, we developed the Word Swap book exchange program, through which students with a Brandeis I.D. will be able to exchange one book for another with a purchase from the café. More Than Words plans to implement the program next semester to help increase student foot traffic into the store.

The ongoing book drive has collected more than 2,000 books for More Than Words.

Team Members

Jessie Fixsen and Arielle Levine